This is a shocking video.
The full video of the Spring Valley High School Police Officer brutally assaulting a peaceful student. pic.twitter.com/oHIS8GrtSS
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) October 26, 2015
Richland School District Two says they are investigating an incident captured on video which took place at the school involving student Monday.
The video began spreading on social media sites Monday afternoon. In it, a female student can be seen sitting in her chair in a classroom where several other students are present. An officer can be seen grabbing the student out of her desk, causing the chair to flip over. Once the student is on the ground, the officer can be seen grabbing the student and dragging her for several feet.
The officer then tells the girl to put her hands behind her back. The video stops at that point.
"We are aware of an incident that occurred today at Spring Valley High School," the district said in a statement. "Video of it has been posted on social media. The incident is under investigation. We are working closely with the sheriff's department."
The Richland County Sheriff's Department is the agency that has school resources officers at Spring Valley. News19 has been in contact with the department for a comment, and they tell us they are working on a response.
More, via twitter:
UPDATE: Via Shaun King, another angle, where the officer can be heard telling another student "I'll put you in jail next."
Update 2: Apparently she had been asked to leave and go to the office by the teacher. She refused to do it, and an administrator asked if they should get the resource officer. Here's one narrative:
Even if all of this is true, and the girl refused to leave her seat for whatever reason, the answer was not to drag her out of the chair and drop her on her head, nor to drag her by her hair. That officer was the ADULT in the room, and had far more tools available to him than an violent response.
If you have never been dragged by your hair, you can't know what an awful, painful humiliating experience it really is. This officer was supposed to be trained in how to handle situations like this, not escalate them.
Update 3: Officer Fields has been sued before
The school district is working with the sheriff’s department for the investigation, and asking that the officer not return to any schools. In 2007, Fields was sued by a couple after another rough arrest in 2005.
Fields emptied a can of pepper spray on Carlos Martin, who parked next to him, according to court documents. The two started arguing after Martin was allegedly playing loud music, court documents showed. Fields arrested him for breaching the peace.
During that arrest, Martin’s wife, Tashiana, took photos of the arrest, but Fields had his partner take her phone. She said the deputies threw her against a car and arrested her as well.
The couple sued the officer for illegal seizure, false arrest, excessive force and battery. The sheriff’s deputy claimed Tashiana ran toward the two officers swinging her arms while attempting to kick an officer in the head, according to court records. She denied the officer’s allegations.
Carlos said deputy Fields had kneed him several times after slamming him on the ground. Court documents said he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder after the arrest.
Update 4: Now I have to ask why this guy still had a job, much less in that school. He's facing a federal civil rights lawsuit:
Deputy Ben Fields is facing a lawsuit in federal court accusing him of violating the civil rights of a student at Spring Valley High School. The student, Ashton James Reese, was expelled from the high school for “unlawful assembly of gang activity and assault and battery,” in 2013. He was accused of participating in a “gang related” fight in a Walmart parking lot near the school.
You can read the complaint above.
Fields, who did not respond to the fight, led the investigation, and described it as a “huge gang fight,” that was an attempt to unite three gangs at the school. He said Reese was identified as being in the video and being part of a gang. But Reese denies he is a gang member, according to the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, Reese’s attorneys claim Fields, “recklessly targets African-American students with allegations of gang membership and criminal gang activity.”
A jury trial is scheduled to begin on January 27, 2016.